The term “superfood” seems to be a bit of a buzzword these days, particularly among marketers who want you to buy their product. But what actually makes a food ‘super’? According to Health.com, superfoods are “nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. Eating them may reduce the risk of chronic disease and prolong life.” Superfoods also tend to have the power to help you manage your weight and live a healthier life.
Many nutritionists have long considered avocados to be a superfood, and now science has confirmed it. A new study from researchers out of Penn State have found that avocados are not only delicious, but also have the power to lower your cholesterol and keep your heart healthy.
The study observed 45 overweight, yet healthy, participants while on various diets intended to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. The first diet included 24 percent fat. The second diet included 34 percent fat and one avocado each day, and the third also included 34 percent fat but instead of avocados included “high oleic acid oils, such as olive oil.” Every participant followed all three diets for five weeks per diet, with a two-week break in between to give their bodies some time to recover.
The researchers found that while all the diets were successful in lowering LDL cholesterol levels in the participants, the diet that included avocado was by far the most successful in LDL reduction. While avocados are seemingly high in calories and fat content, experts agree that they have the “good” kind of fat and now actually have the ability to lower your cholesterol and boost your heart health.
Great Ideas for Incorporating Avocado Into Your Diet
Aside from being incredibly nutritious, avocados are also delicious and versatile. They can be eaten with breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even for a snack! Here are some great recipe ideas for incorporating avocado into your diet:
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with Sliced Avocado
For a protein-packed start to your day, scramble up 2-3 eggs and eat with whole wheat toast and sliced avocado. Add some sriracha if you like it spicy!
Lunch: Greek Salad with Grilled Chicken and Avocado
Salad is a great way to add a lot of nutrients to your daily diet, and the protein in the chicken will keep you full until your next meal or snack. A salad with romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, onion, feta cheese and grilled chicken is even more delicious when you add avocado on top.
Snack: Avocado Toast
A super healthy snack, avocado toast is a great low-calorie snack for any time of day! Simply toast a piece of whole wheat bread, and use a fork to smush half an avocado onto the piece of toast. Garnish with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes for a kick!
Perhaps the most famous avocado snack out there, guacamole is a healthy snack that can be paired with multi-grain crackers or veggies, such as carrots or cucumbers. Guacamole is also super simple to make. All you need is 2 ripe avocados, tomato, red onion, and a little bit of sea salt and you’re good to go!
Dinner: Avocado Pesto Pasta
While this may seem like the most out-of-the-box idea for avocado, this recipe is quick, easy and delicious! While you are waiting for your favorite pasta to cook on the stove, you can prepare the avocado pesto: 5 ripe avocados, juice of 2 lemons, 2 cloves of garlic, ⅓ cup of olive oil, fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste. You can also toss in some fresh parmesan if you want it to taste a bit richer. Simply blend all of the ingredients together and mix in with your cooked pasta. Yum!